The deadline for the 2023 Group Christmas Project submissions has now been extended to Monday the 11th of December.
@Gordon Shumway -
Congrats on your 1st Badge! 😉
Hope you'll consider joining in some Parties & maybe the GP(?)
Btw, is there a way to flip your view in your camera settings? My phone also allows me to flip it afterwards as an edit, before I send to YouTube - if I forget to set the view when I start recording.
I found out how to flip my videos.
I'll get around to posting more. I'm busy at the moment, and I may be in hospital soon.
My 3-octave arpeggios have a similar system to that of my scales, and it looks as though red desert (I should find out her name - it looks like it's Laura) may follow the same system.
I was going to add her warning to keep the thumb on the shoulder (apart from her demonstration that it is functional there). You can move it around the bout away from the shoulder, but that's too advanced, and I think it's potentially dangerous for us beginners to attempt. In the summer if your hand is slippery, you may lose the violin.
Also I wanted to suggest that the way to practise 3-octave stuff is to start with the top octave to find out where your hand should end up and how to make it comfortable there.
So the way to begin is to put the thumb securely on the shoulder and then find out how far your pinky can reach in comfort. Perhaps it will be D. That means that if you learn 3-octave scales and arpeggios, you should only go as far as D and forget going any higher (F# is the limit of course).
I've been working on the BWV1006 Gigue for 4 weeks, but I haven't got very far with it.
I may record it to blog it, but I'm going to deposit these two links here for safe keeping first.
The question is those mordants. You could add one or two to bwv1006, but they aren't written in, whereas they do seem to be written into BWV825, although we don't have an autograph MS, if IMSLP is anything to go by: -
Normally one goes to Glenn Gould for Bach, but Sokolov makes Gould look like a schmuck.
Gordon Shumway said
String crossing is a big topic.
I keep meaning to study it, but it seems to get delayed and delayed. I've recently been working on BWV1006 Gigue, but there was the Corelli (Op.5, No.1, movement 3) in Suzuki book 7(?) there's La Follia, there's everything I've done in the past, and I need to get on top of it once and for all during the next 10 months before going on to harder stuff.
I must mention this in the video, as it's a good way to divert your attention away from the fact that I can't play the gigue.
Three quickly dashed-off, unplanned pieces of rubbish without a warm-up.
They are to get me more familiar with recording and are liable to be deleted.
I will accept negative comments, as it might give me an idea of how to plan what I'm going to record in future. The first thing of course would be music that I can actually play! (although part of that is with that gigue it is necessary to be strict with your use of a metronome)
By "melodic" I meant "lyrical".
Terrible bow angle!
Worst bow hold of all right at the end of that one!
Andrew I cant make my mind up about which one of the 2 I like more. Not that You are wanting that.. but theres a few sections in the 2nd vid i think it was where I was hearing a lighter sweet tone.. the new bow is more creamy or warm sounding to me and both are sounds I like. for what its worth.
chuckle on the glasses in front of the camera. something tells me you couldve planned that 🙂
your vibrato is great. Im trying but have a long way to where you are.
anyway.. nice to see some vids! enjoyed watching. congrats on the bow!
@Gordon Shumway -
These are GREAT! ...and a good way to get more comfortable recording!
LOVE your Breton!!! What mic are you using?
Are you sure you don't want to try my little trick of thickening the edge of the thumb leather with a narrow wrapping of tape? Actually, your thumb leather already looks much thicker than mine. Maybe try to angle your thumb so your nail is stopping against the the leather edge (?) I feel for you, because it was extremely distracting when my hand used to creep up the stick.
...7th, 9th position - I love you can name them! I shift to where I need to and have NO idea which position I'm in... well, maybe except for 3rd, but even that's up in the air sometimes. (lol) As long as I play the right notes.
Btw, I think you should keep your videos up - you might find them helpful to look back upon. Don't you think these videos will help your next practice?
Did you decide anything different to do next recording? Camera up a bit might be nice, but otherwise thought this was GREAT!
Really glad you shared these, Andrew - I enjoyed seeing/hearing your Breton & LOVE your new bow, too! 🤗
Do you have any Christmassy music up your sleeve? Maudmaud started a Christmas Party!
The mic is the built-in Galaxy tablet mic. I'll try to work out how to record in conjunction with the large-diaphragm condensers you can see and the PC, if possible. I'm only at the flat for a day, so I won't record before January, but it gives me time to practise.
Yes the JonPaul does have thicker thumb leather than other bows. I'm constantly grip-aware and adjusting, so I think I'll be OK without extra rubber bands and things. I played with it during the weekend, and the difference between it and the GX is one of feel - it is a lot more noticeable now - the GX is heavier and feels "lumpen" in comparison. My luthier, before he retired, joked that Coda bows are indestructible. The more I use the JonPaul, the more I like it, but the finish is the only thing wrong with it - its matt brown look is not as nice as the glossy finish on the GX.
Planned videos are Corelli grade 2, Irish air grade 3 and the Londonderry Air, some Crees pseudo-blues grade 4 with perhaps Solveig's Song and an air by Bull, and something grade 5 (Corelli or Elgar), and then something grade 6 (Black Eyes and El Choclo) by September at the latest, all while practising grade 7 pieces for technical development.
The video isn't really hi-enough-def to make the Breton look good. It has typically "yellow" varnish, but here without detail, it just looks a bit plasticky. And I could have shown the back and sides up close, to show that the one-piece back is one of the design features and perhaps a reason why the sound is dark.
I can't believe I didn't get a DIY badge for sticking velcro in my violin case. The Boy Scouts weren't this tough!
I spend 5 days a week practising in a boxroom which is small and loud, and so I have noticed increased tinnitus. So I have started using earplugs.
I use Etymotic Research ER20XS-SMF-P High-Fidelity Earplugs, available on Amazon.
My teacher has custom-mades (obtained from/via the Musicians' Union) for her ears, and the degree of suppression is adjustable. They cost 200-300 bucks, I believe. She is freelance, so the orchestras and halls and circumstances she gets to play in are unpredictable. We don't need anything that sophisticated, unless the money is meaningless. My community string orchestra is not a problem (no brass - the jocks of the music world,).
I haven't tried ordinary non-musicians earplugs, but there's no reason why you shouldn't begin with those. In theory the frequency distribution will not be right for you to get the best tone out of your instrument, but that's better than going deaf.
The, finer, mathematics are complicated - Etymotic suppress 20dB at all frequencies, but that seems to work out at 13dB overall using standard measuring methods. This is perhaps, I assume, because high frequencies require more suppression if your ears are to be protected.
But for every earplug you see on Amazon there will be 1-star reviews from people with snoring partners who say "they don't work". This is because they expect total silence (and sometimes because they haven't worked out the right insertion technique) - they won't get it. The basic mathematics are simple - if a violin generates 90dB and your earplugs are rated at 35dB, then you will hear it at a level of 90-35=55dB. A cure for deafness, but not a cure for insomnia.
Gordon Shumway said
while attempting some Schubert I was surprised to be told by my teacher that staccato wasn't necessary (in the particular place where it was indicated).
But it can be used for bow management - if you have a long downbow followed by a staccato passage followed by a long downbow, you more or less have to play the staccato passage all on the upbow. If not followed by a long downbow (as in the Schubert), you have some flexibility to choose what to do.
This is worth expanding on.
I think I've seen youtube videos where they say that louré/portato bowing should sound exactly like smooth détaché (others have different opinions, I know, but my view is that if you can get infinite range out of your louré bowing, you should exploit it), and bowed staccato should sound exactly like short détaché. If true, this gives food for thought in the following example: -
p.23 of this pdf bars 2 and 3. Bar 2 phrased as Oistrakh has it, you need up-bow staccato to give you enough room for the downbow in bar 4.
But other editions (e.g. this one, p.2) phrase bar 2 differently - down and up. If you do that, there's no need for upbow staccato. That's my teacher's opinion, and I think it's worth considering.
Gordon Shumway said
Gordon Shumway said
I use Etymotic Research ER20XS-SMF-P High-Fidelity Earplugs
Ow. I was playing a piece of quiet baroque largo, so I decided to take the earplugs out, and it sounded unimaginably rough.
Earplugs can give you the illusion that you are playing much better than you really are. I'm going to spend some time only wearing an earplug in my left ear.
BTW, Fiddlershop's d'Addario Pacatos come in an identical pouch to the Etymotics and are probably more or less an identical product.
I'm currently using Earasers (available from Fiddlershop) for orchestra rehearsals. One of my post-COVID symptoms is extra sensitivity to loud sounds, and the viola section is directly in front of trombones, so I started using earplugs for the first time in my life this fall. (I tried regular foam earplugs for one brass-heavy program a few years ago, but abandoned them after 20 minutes because I couldn't hear most of the orchestra.)
I wasn't especially picky about the brand, I just went with what I could get on short notice at a local store. They work pretty well, -19 dB and I still hear everything easily. I'm currently keeping them in my car because I find them useful in all kinds of loud places right now.
Note: immediately after taking out earplugs, everything sounds rough for 5-10 minutes. It's not just my own playing, my stand partner's playing does as well. I feel like I'm incapable of playing any softer than forte after removing the earplugs. But that's also an illusion, because it's the contrast that makes everything seem louder.
immediately after taking out earplugs, everything sounds rough for 5-10 minutes. It's not just my own playing, my stand partner's playing does as well. I feel like I'm incapable of playing any softer than forte after removing the earplugs. But that's also an illusion, because it's the contrast that makes everything seem louder.
I've noticed the same with mutes, orchestral and practice. It didn't occur to me to question my ears, but you're right - they continuously adapt themselves.
It's the same with inverted vision: -
My viola sounded louder just removing the chin rest, seems harder to play softly. After many years of wearing hearing protection in the Military and after, I just hate having anything in my ears, now. I never noticed anything weird after taking earplugs out - maybe because they blocked more frequencies/noise, unlike the kind musicians wear. I do have a pair for music, just hate using them - most of the time I just play softly until I need to record.
Maybe from getting older, maybe even because I've been on some medication (in the past) that scared me, caused temporary ringing in my ears - I think I've gotten much more particular about noise levels and frequencies I don't like.
Pretty remarkable that it only took Susannah a week to form new neural pathways to physically perform everyday tasks & to draw while seeing inverted.
I'm surprised it took a whole hour for her sight & actions to re-sync after removing the glasses - the old neural pathways only had to be found, they still existed.
...bet it wouldn't take a week if she put the glasses back on again.
Gordon Shumway said
Etymotic earplugs had been recommended, but I don't like them. Here's my Amazon review. If you read further, it seems possible that Etymotic have changed the design at least twice over the years.
Ha, Amazon sent me an email saying some of my reviews didn't meet their criteria, and I should read their criteria (i.e. I should also read all my reviews). I didn't bother, so they deleted all 220 of my reviews.
Short story, buy Pacatos, not Etymotics.
Anyway. I've been wanting to abandon shoulder rests, and I bought a micro gelrest a while ago. But then I bought a Wolf Forte Secondo, then today a high Teka chinrest, 40mm, arrived. Here it is compared with an ordinary Teka on the right. I think I screwed up - 40mm is maybe a little bit too high, but not if I can find just the right kind of shoulder support.
Problem is, I'm not that keen on the gelrest and may have to design some kind of padded cloth thing to line the edge of the violin which is very uncomfortable on my collar bone.
Those of you who are interested in gelrests, I have a few thin ones used for sticking mobile phones to car dashboards etc. I'd warn that their adhesive power can be frightening. I put one on a chinrest and put chamois leather on top of that and when I finally wanted to take the gelrest off the chinrest, it was so strongly bonded it felt like it was superglued. That might harm a violin's varnish. Fiddlershop sells a microgelrest with much gentler adhesion, if its size and shape are right for you.
I may one day end up with a normal chinrest and a car sponge and will have a box full of expensive unused accessories, but then I'll probably resemble every other violinist.